Behold…French Wine Discovered in America

How far behind the curve are French wine producers in terms of tapping into the larger American wine market?

There are some pretty basic principles of this national market that need to be understood if you want to sell any significant amount of wine:

1. Price it under $15
2. Put the name of the grape (variety) on the label
3. Make the label attractive and easy to read

Pretty basic stuff. Yet, here comes an announcement from a French producer that exclaims in near revelatory terms the introduction of a French wine into the American market finally responds to what Americans want in a wine:

"Major Bordeaux Wine Producer Responds to New
World Challenge: Union De Producteurs De Saint-Emilion Launches EMILIO
— A New World Style Wine from the Old World.

The announcement describes EMILIO as:

"a blend tailored to please the American palate and targeting the growing number of American wine consumers.

"EMILIO 2005 is a 90% Merlot that combines a touch of the New World with
French taste and elegance. Thirty percent of the wine is aged in oak
prior to the blend for a more refined wine that doesn’t break the bank!
The wine originates from the world acclaimed soils of Saint-Emilion in
Bordeaux. The bright cherry red label and smiling face of the label
beckon even the hardest to please wine consumer. EMILIO is intended to
attract a younger audience as well as a more discriminating wine
connoisseur — a wine to enjoy with friends!"

Are the French so far behind the curve that the release of wine that we assume is somewhat fleshier and easy to drink and that has an attractive label is cause for an announcement that borders on, "Behold, we have invented Air"?

4 Responses

  1. Erin - August 25, 2006

    Your big 3 for the American market is pretty much bang on in my opinion. While the wine enthusiasts likely don’t have a problem with $15+, the mass market is for more affordable, quality wine.
    What I don’t get, and perhaps I’m misunderstanding what this producer is trying to accomplish with EMILIO, is this “new world style wine from the old world” garbage. I realize that they’re trying to break into the large market of casual wine drinkers, and can understand that. From a personal perspective though, I don’t buy French wine so that it can taste like something I can buy in the Okanagan. I buy French wine for a break from New World wine. Breaks my heart to see this kind of thing proclaimed as the second coming.

  2. Fredric Koeppel - August 25, 2006

    Despite the feeble pun on St. Emilion, labeling a French wine Emilio is like a Chianti named Pierre. And i have to agree with Erin. Tasting a platoon of wines from Bordeaux last week, it was a relief to feel wines that actually have lively acid, that cut a swathe across the tongue and assert themselves instead of lying there like a pool of jammy velvet.

  3. Julian - August 26, 2006

    I think the answer to your (rhetorical) question is yes. I must admit to having more or less given up trying to explain to Bubble Brothers’ French suppliers and would-be suppliers what it is (eg your three points)they should be aware of if they wish to sell more wine here in Ireland, or outside France generally. In a very profound way, they just don’t get it. I’m swamped with Emilio-type offers, all misplaced primary-colour gloss and breezy copy designed to appeal to what someone in Bordeaux, for instance, imagines – and I have to stress that this is invariably, in my experience, the work of pure imagination – the tastes of an Irish person might be. These promotions (often heartbreakingly) display all the innocent diligence and energy of a school project completed with no further purpose in mind than the achievement of optimum grades. The adult, the awakened dimension of finding out what customers in the real, non-hypothetical target market actually, truly want so that you can sell them what you make, is missing. Simply not there, mon cher.

  4. Dee Dee - August 26, 2006

    I couldn’t agree more with the sentiments posted here by Frederic and Erin. It’s a sad day for both French wine and American wine consumers.

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